We haven't replaced any if our defencemen that left, Rafalski, Stuart, or Lidstrom, neither player was replaced.
As far as what I'd like to see done: starting with not resigning any of our UFA's, getting a new 4th, 5th, and 6th defenceman. And singing at least 2 new forwards, but I'm not naive I know most of it won't happen.
Ericsson has been a pretty effective new Stuart. Raffi and Lids are really the gaping holes. Smith and Kindl have done nothing to replace them so far
None of us can say fersure what caliber of player any of them will be. We can all agree they're capable 3rd liners right now. Is there a chance some will become 2nd line caliber? Yes. Is there a chance some will become 1st liners? Yes. The chance of being a 1st liner is slimmer but the chance is still there. Jurco is 21 for Pete's sake. He's just getting a taste and has been dependable, and still has around 5 years to grow and mature. He's big, fast, skilled. Got to think he has a lot of potential to rise above the 3rd line. Tatar's 23, still 3 years to grow, and he's been reportedly ready for NHL duty long b4 this year. His puck possession isn't great, and isn't outstanding at D yet, but wow is he dynamic, hard working, and hungry. I see him wanting to be a high caliber star more than any of them. Nyquist is the oldest and best all around. Right now he feeds off guys like Zetterberg and Franzen and has lots of success. I see him being mentored by a guy like Z to become another leader on this team, much like how Z himself was mentored by our other past vets. Sheahan has surprised me the most. Many said he was a career 3rd line C, but he's having a lot of success at that very early. Gotta think there's a possibility he can grow into a 2nd line roll
ANH - Hiller (Hate rest of team, but always liked him)
BOS - Krug (Go Green)
BUF - Girgensons (Plays balls to the wall)
DAL - Peverley (Always loved him, not just sad for his health)
CBJ - Wisniewski (Big Whalers fan)
COl - Duchene (his highlights are amazing)
CGY - Hudler (I also enjoy hookers)
DET - Everyone (even Cleary)
EDM - Their next 1st round pick
FLA - Weiss (yes)
CHI - Sharp (Respect for a Wing killer)
LA - Brown (America, f*** yeah)
NSH - Rinne (best in the league)
TBL - Gudas (OMG physical)
NYR - McDonagh (incredibly underrated even for the praise he gets)
NYI - Martin (machine)
MTL - Subban (don't agree with the locker room cancer rumors)
PHI - Hartnell (bring back the hair)
NJ - Jagr (have you seen his numbers at 42?)
STL - Miller (Go White)
TOR - Kessel (Cool dude)
VAN - Torts (great enforcer)
OTT - Neil (the type I wish Cleary was)
PIT - Malkin (Crosby's less douchey half)
PHX - Doan (shouldn't have to explain why)
SJ - Hertl (fun to watch)
WPG - Ladd (another guy I wish Cleary could be)
WSH - Ovi (crazy player, crazy guy)
CAR - Brindamour (miss him, go green)
MIN - Heater (50 in 07)
If we sign him and he's legit, and Mantha comes up and he's legit, then next year we would have to start trading forwards. We would be even more ridiculously deep than we are this year. Even after losing Bertuzzi, Cleary, and maybe Alfredsson
Eventually the higher-ups will realize that it doesn't matter how many soft Euro superstars they draft or acquire... at the end of the day you have to protect your assets, and the DRW have failed to do so for the past 3-4 seasons. We may not find a grittier power-forward with great hands who can also fight, but until they find someone to keep other teams in check, what is to stop them from walking all over us, weathering our man-advantage afterwards?
When Neal was targeting Franzen in (what I believe) was his first or second game back from concussions, the only "enforcer" for the Red Wings by the end of the game was the officials, who threw him out of the game TO PROTECT HIM, because we had NO ONE TO STEP UP. When Stevie Y was still playing for the Wings, McCarty was given the job of making sure he never got messed with. Where is Datsyuk's McCarty? Who is protecting Franzen and his fragile head?
Babcock and KH will eventually realize that there is no point in building a superstar line-up if they refuse to keep them protected. Until then... well, just look at our past couple seasons and our injuries.
Neal and Neil are two different guys, but I know what you're talking about.
Enforcers don't prevent injury. But if I was an opponent coach playing the Wings I would tell all my guys before the game "Look these guys are all soft finesse players. Don't play their game. Play physical and aggressive with them, and just go balls to the wall on them... they're not going to stop you." We need some more BIG guys that wear down the other team and let them know they can't go balls to the wall on us.
At the end of the day I love this franchise bc we always go to the playoffs. We piss excellence. If we don't make it I'll still be a diehard fan, but it will be hard to take the "streak is over" bs from the media and other fans. We've always been a prime target for haters, and I dread the day they have ammo.